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How can we improve Excel for Windows (Desktop Application)?

Increase the 218 character filename length limit to open files in excel

Excel can't open files with full path lengths greater than 218 characters as documented in https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/213983. This is still a problem in Office 2016. It seems crazy that Excel can't open a valid file that the filesystem allows. People have been complaining about this since Office 2000. The thread below has over 11 thousand views and there are plenty others. Please fix this. http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/office/forum/office_2013_release-excel/sorry-unable-to-find/595333d0-1463-499f-967e-4da8ac2e2047

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    Anonymous shared this idea  ·   ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →

    87 comments

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      • Walter Pelowski commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I've had an issue the past couple of months where occasionally I'm unable to use the Modern Copy interface in SharePoint online (link here: https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/Microsoft-SharePoint-Blog/Announcing-File-Copy-Move-for-SharePoint-Modern-Document/ba-p/4884) to copy some spreadsheets over to another library. I get a really lousy and unhelpful error of "1 item wasn't copied". https://www.screencast.com/t/PEc6XaXJaC In finding a Excel 2017 and Excel 2010 article about this limitation I figured, "What the heck? Why not try it?" and lo and behold, by reducing the directory name in SharePoint Online by a few characters, it fixed the issue! I too am shocked that in today's day and age that this is still a limitation. (Literally the file is only 2 folders deep.) It is even trickier to troubleshoot when there is nothing in SharePoint Online to indicate that this was the limitation that was experienced.

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Based on the comments already in this thread it doesn't look like there is a solution. But literally last week i opened a file in excel that was 219 characters in length. this week i opened the same file, wanted to save and rename it almost the exact same name, bar changing the date. The new file name was the exact same length, 219 characters and now i can't save either version. Nothing has changed on my end during this past week. I understand that the file name limit is 218 characters but don't understand why i am just seeing this issue now? Did microsoft change something this week?

      • Stuart Bailie commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Does anyone know if this is still a problem in Office 2019? If so that means Microsoft has known about this for two complete iterations of Office.

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        This is totally unusable. We have move to 365 and now one drive and most of our xcel docs we are now unable to either open or save again. You have to pull the doc onto your desktop then open, or save in another location to then copy paste into the correct file. Total time waster.
        Wish we could revert back. Please do something about this, it is adding more work and frustration to a simple task.

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        All this is doing is complicating IT manager's lives needlessly. This can be fixed if you put your resources into it and should be fairly high priority. If you're going to push Office 365/Sharepoint/OneDrive you darn sure better make it usable. This is totally unacceptable.

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I escalated this issue at MS and I got the following answer. This 218 char is part of Excel's calculation engine and it will take a very long time to test. So don't hold your breath!

      • nicholas muller commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I would love to grab Billion Gates and ask him about it. Get out of your glass house and fix your garbage help your users not your stock holders

      • Sébastien commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I have a way to solve: I map my own C drive as a mapped drive, but lower in the folder hierarchy.
        Map drive \\computername\c$\Users\Box_sync\Loooooooong_name so the path look smaller for excel.

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Just in the last couple of days Excel has shortened my acceptable file length to around 21 characters...no changes in software or hardware. Why?! This is maddening!

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Have an even more bizarre problem, though the 218 character limit is also annoying. But for one client - and one only - I am reduced to file names of only around 21 characters. Anything beyond that Excel refuses. Very hard to make meaningful files names w only 21 characters.

      • Darren commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Seems to be movement in the latest Excel (Office 365 Subscription) or Win 10 (not sure which). Just opened an Excel file with a 247 character full path length (excluding filename). Once opened, in Excel the recent files path shows in the old DOS short format (e.g. COMPAN~2 instead of Company Files). Behaviour is a little strange still though as at one point while testing various combinations the 218 character warning returned....work in progress?

        Not sure when changes occurred however the test device is running Windows 10 1809 Build 17763.107 and Excel 1810 (Build 11001.20074 Click-to-Run)

      • Menno commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        This might not have been a big issue in the past, but with Office365/sharepoint/MyDrive it does become a disrupting limitation. When you check the filename length on your local filesystem, it looks like you do not exceed the 218 limit since the base part consists of 'C:\Users\<username>\OneDrive - <companyname>\' which is about 35 to 50 characters. But that is not the filename used to open the file since Office will try to open it from the network location. And that starts with 'https://<companyname>-my.sharepoint.com/personal/<email without special characters>/Documents' which results in about 80 to 100 characters, so almost half of the allowed 218 characters.

        In short, this is pathetic. FIX IT!!!

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Funny, I spoke to the Office guys at Ignite at the Office booth and they weren't even aware it was a problem... shows how useless this Uservoice stuff is.

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I am using Office 365 and all my files are on SharePoint.
        I am also facing this problem too. 218 characters is not enough.
        Also I noticed that in the URL has some repeated info such as https://mydomain.sharepoint.com/Mylibrary/Forms/Allitems.aspx?viewpath=Mylibraryaspx&id=Mylibrary

        The path for "Mylibrary" is repeated 3 times, which takes one-third of my total path lengh.

        Is there a way to improve the URL so that it won't repeat library path three times and increase 218 limit?

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        If you would all just name your files as spreadsheet1, spreadsheet2, spreadsheet3.... etc instead of trying to give them a useful and meaningful name, then you wouldn't have this problem.
        Obviously it gets a bit messy when sharing files with other organisations etc who might already have a "spreadsheet24", but there must be a workaround.
        Maybe there could be a central control to issue names, in a similar way to MAC addresses.
        Then we could leave MS alone and stop bothering them with all the shortcomings in their software.

      • Stuart Bailie commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Bruno I like your idea that they should "prioritize this fix" but the bigger issue is they have to start with acknowledge that it is broken in the first place and that methodolgies from the 1990s don't apply to late 2010s era of computing.

      • Bruno Simon commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        We are gradually implementing the use of SharePoint Online libraries in the entire organization and certain departments heavily use Excel. The 218 character filename length limit is the most prominient problem we have encountered this far. Please prioritize this fix.

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